Mar 31, 2014

Allan Dollison Meet and Greet in Garberville on April 7

District Attorney Candidate, Allan L. Dollison will be holding a Meet the Candidate event on Monday, April 7, 2014 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm at the Garberville Veteran’s Hall located at 483 Conger Street in Garberville.

Mar 29, 2014

All 4 DA candidates attend Republican of the Year Dinner

Seeing Matt Heath who is a Republican running for State Assembly was expected. Seeing all 4 DA candidates, 3 of who are Democrats (Allan, Maggie and Arnie) was a pleasant surprise. Elan is non partisan.

In a non partisan race, the local Republican party has been the one to be inclusive. So it does not surprise me that there were attendees as well as some elected officials present that are not Republican. This is not the only year this has been the case. Often the people being honored are well-known and friends of people in the community.

Honored at the22nd annual  Republican Year of the Dinner were Peter Hannaford as Republican of the Year and Annette De Modena as Volunteer of the Year. Other elected officials present were Eureka Mayor Frank Jager and Eureka Councilmember Chet Albin. Humboldt County Supervisor and Board Chair Rex Bohn was supposed to present a proclamation on behalf of the Supervisors but he was "triple booked for the evening." 4th District Supervisor presented the award since it was happening in Eureka but also because she has known Peter Hannaford for a long time.

For those who do not know Peter, you might want to google and do research on him. Whatever your party affiliation may be, Humboldt County is very lucky to have someone of Peter's caliber and stature call Humboldt county home.

The event took place at the Ingomar Club.


Mar 28, 2014

A reader poses an interesting theory about today's domestic drama

Since no one saw who was upstairs, and no one could confirm the man who drove away trying to avoid law enforcement, a regular reader of my blog said maybe the ex husband slipped out and then called with the concocted story.


This guess could be reality.




A California legislature bill with a local impact. Fed up of Crime, take action and call your state legislator

Talk is cheap. Take action.

AMENDED IN SENATE MARCH 18, 2014
SENATE BILL No. 833
Introduced by Senator Liu
January 6, 2014
An act to repeal and add amend Section 4024 of the Penal Code,
relating to jails.
legislative counsel’s digest
SB 833, as amended, Liu. Jails: discharge of prisoners.
Existing law authorizes the sheriff to discharge a prisoner from the
county jail at a time on the last day a prisoner may be confined that the
sheriff considers to be in the best interests of that prisoner. Existing law
allows for the accelerated release of inmates, as specified, upon the
authorization of the presiding judge of the superior court.
This bill instead would additionally authorize the sheriff to offer a
voluntary program to a prisoner, upon completion of a sentence served
or a release ordered by the court to be effected the same day, that would
allow the prisoner to stay in the custody facility for up to 16 additional
hours or until normal business hours, whichever is shorter, in order to
offer the prisoner the ability to be discharged to a treatment center or
during daytime hours. The bill would specify that this authorization
does not prevent the early release of prisoners as otherwise allowed by
law or allow jails to retain prisoners any longer than otherwise required
by law without the prisoners’ express written consent.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.

Third reading ordered in the Senate

The link to the entire bill is worth reading, here are some sections that have been relevant in local discussions:

(a)  City and county jails throughout California regularly release
  jailed persons during nighttime hours.
 (b)  Persons released during late night hours are unable to access
  basic reentry services, are susceptible to victimization, and may
 jeopardize public safety.
  (c)  Persons released who are homeless are left to the streets
 until morning, as most shelters close intake in the early evening
 hours.
 (d)  Persons who suffer from mental illness or substance
 addiction are unable to access immediate treatment services
 following a late night release from jail.
 (e)  Many California counties have reentry centers that provide
 a range of services and referrals for persons recently released from
 jail, however, most centers are typically open during business
 hours only, leaving persons released at night without these
  immediate benefits.
 (f)  While some jurisdictions have attempted to address this
 issue, there is no standardized policy in place to govern release
 times.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/sen/sb_0801-0850/sb_833_bill_20140318_amended_sen_v98.pdf

Someone entered her home but it was not the ex husband who she pointed the finger at, domestic drama!

On 03-28-2014, at approximately 10:19 a.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was called by a woman who reported that she believed her ex-husband was in her residence and may be armed. Deputies responded and met with the woman at her residence on Prindan Lane, Eureka. The woman told the deputies she was recently awarded the family home in a divorce settlement and the husband had been recently evicted from the home. The woman told deputies the locks had been changed when she took ownership of the home, and now someone had changed the locks again so her key no longer worked. She could no longer enter the residence and the blinds, which had been open when she was last in the residence, were closed. Deputies approached the residence and attempted to determine if anyone was in the home.  Deputies used the key she provided to unlock the door and it did not work. Deputies walked around the exterior of the home trying to determine if someone was home, and also to look for signs of forced entry. While deputies were walking around the home, they heard the sound of an upstairs window closing, and sounds of a disturbance in the upstairs room. Deputies met again with the wife who told the deputies there were firearms in the home that her ex-husband would have access to.

 Deputies attempted to make contact into the home using a loudspeaker, with no success. Deputies and detectives then attempted to locate family and friends of the ex-husband to determine if he was in the home, or if there was a cell phone number to contact him.  Two citizens who lived on Montgomery Street  which is near Prindan Lane, approached deputies at approximately 12:00 noon and told the deputies they saw a black truck park nearby and a man jump into the truck and duck down to avoid being seen by law enforcement. The citizens, however could not identify the man  driving the truck or the man entering the truck. They could also not provide any further descriptive  information on the truck.   They told deputies this occurred about the time deputies initially showed up at the residence.
           
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team was training in the area and was summoned to the location to stand by in case they were needed. The California Highway Patrol responded, along with Eureka Police to assist with closing the road in front of the residence.

At 1:30 p.m., the ex-husband called the Sheriff’s Office and said he was not in the home and would meet with deputies. The ex-husband met with deputies at 1:40 p.m. on Excelsior Road, Eureka. He denied entering the residence since being evicted. At the ex-wife’s request deputies forced entry into the home and made sure no one else was in the home. The ex-husband was transported back to the Prindan Lane residence at his request and allowed to remove some personal items with his ex-wife’s permission while deputies stood by. He then left the area and the residence was turned over to the ex-wife per the court order.


Drug arrests, one suspect while waiting to go to Probation

On 03-27-2014, at approximately 9:50 a.m. a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy patrolling the Fairhaven Boat Ramp saw a white 1997 Chrysler Concorde parked with a blanket covering the windows. The deputy initiated contact with the occupants of the vehicle to check their welfare. The deputy spoke with the male driver who said he and the female covered the vehicles windows for privacy. The male driver identified himself as Dusty Wayne Titus, 28 years old and said he was a transient. Titus also told the deputy he was on probation out of Siskiyou County and had recently been released on his own recognizance from Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Titus also told the deputy he had an appointment with his probation officer in a few hours.

 The deputy confirmed Titus was on felony probation with a search clause, and that Titus had been released on his own recognizance, by the court, on three different cases on 3-14-2014.  The deputy detained Titus and spoke with the female.. The female was identified as Susan Yvette Crowl, 38 years old, from Fortuna. The deputy asked Crowl if there was anything illegal in the car. She told the deputy there were some glass pipes used to smoke methamphetamine in the vehicle, along with a digital scale and showed them to the deputy. Crowl told the deputy she also had some methamphetamine concealed in her bra which she removed and gave to the deputy. Crowl was arrested for possession of the methamphetamine.

The deputy searched the vehicle and located additional methamphetamine, dried marijuana, hash and Oxycontin pills.  Over one gram of methamphetamine, 15 grams of hash, and 47 Oxycontin pills were located and seized by the deputy.  Titus and Crowl were both arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where they were booked on possession of a controlled substance, possession for sale of a controlled substance, possession of concentrated cannabis, and possession of drug paraphernalia, Titus was also booked on a charge of violation of probation. Their bail was set at $50,000.00

Shamus T Bones alleged embezzlement suspect to be arraigned next week

Thank you to Luke Brownfield from the Humboldt County District Attorney's office for his prompt response. He also said this information has been communicated to Mr. Chris Barry.

Mr. Barry said that he only learned of the arraignment through this post and that his last contact with Mr. Brownfield was via an email stating that Mr. Brownfield would inform Mr. Barry of the arraignment.

The alleged suspect's name is Malcolm Carpenter.  According to Mr. Barry, he worked for Curleys before he came to work for Shamus.  "We treated him like family," said Mr. Barry.  "We loaned him cash for his lawyer when he was going through a custody battle. Never paid it back"

Mr. Barry's frustration comes from the fact that  he feels there is nothing specific in responses via emails notifying him of the alleged suspect's arrest or the alleged suspect being contacted by law enforcement. Mr. Barry is frustrated that it took 2 months from the original incident for him to get responses. He is frustrated because he is trying to watch out for the community and  warning other restaurant owners about the suspect, the allegations by saying  'If this is true, why haven't I been arrested?'

There are many emails to go through, once I wade through them all, I will have more.

 I emailed Luke Brownfield, District Attorney Paul Gallegos and Chief Andy Mills regarding the status of this case. Mr. Brownfield who is prosecuting the case responded.




County Unintentionally Violates Brown Act, Takes Steps to Improve Compliance


On Tuesday, March 25, the County of Humboldt became aware of a recent Brown Act violation that occurred when a majority of the Board of Supervisors attended a meeting that was not publicly noticed. The violation was committed inadvertently on Thursday, March 20, at a meeting at the Humboldt County Courthouse.

The meeting where the violation occurred was designed to elicit feedback that would improve service to the public regarding the community budget meetings. No action was taken at the meeting. Notes from the meeting have been posted on the County’s web site at co.humboldt.ca.us/portal/budget.

The Ralph M. Brown Act is California’s public meetings law, intended to ensure that public business is conducted in the public view and with public participation. The Act defines what constitutes a meeting of a public body.

The County of Humboldt regrets this mistake. The County recognizes the importance of the Brown Act and is committed to improving its ability to comply with the state’s open meeting laws. Since the violation occurred, County staff members involved in organizing the meeting have received renewed training on the Brown Act.

Being at the right place at the right timing pays off. I was in Supervisor Sundberg's office , this email popped up and I asked him about it. In addition to the press release draft above, Supervisor Sundberg added, "All of take the Brown Act very seriously. As it says this was an unintentional, honest mistake. We have taken steps to correct the issue. There were no policy decisions made at this meeting."

Mar 27, 2014

In Warren case oral arguments, Robinson goes off on wierd analogy of Malaysian aircraft

On March 10, the defense in the Warren case, Public Defender Kevin Robinson filed a motion to dismiss counts 2,3 and 4 in the case. Warren is being represented by Glenn Brown, from Alternatate Counsel in another case. Brown was also in court today.

Warren is  accused of torturing and killing a Hoopa woman, Dorothy Ulrich, on the morning of Sept. 26, 2012 before taking a car from her residence and driving to Eureka, where he allegedly intentionally hit three runners, killing Suzanne Seemann and seriously injuring Jessica Hunt and Terri Vroman-Little.

Between that time and today, the Public Defender filed subpoena for records and a Motion to Quash Subpoena Duces Tecum.  Ron Fusi, a private attorney filed an opposition to Public Defender's Motion to Quash Subpoena Duces Tecum. We won't know why until April 9 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 4.
'
Judge John Feeney said that he had reviewed the 995 Motion; People's Opposition to that motion; reviewed exhibits and transcript of the preliminary hearing.

He then heard oral arguments. Kevin Robinson apologized for his frankness before he spoke because family members of the victims were in the audience.

He went on and on about evidence and valid evidence and what is malice and legal definitions and that the District Attorney's office did not prove deliberate intent. This is point he should have proved in the preliminary hearing. Clearly he failed.

All Mr. Robinson admitted to was that Warren was in the KIA and involved in the collision. He said there could be various scenarios that could have resulted in the death of Ms. Ulrich and Ms. Seemann and the 2 victims that survived but are seriously injured.

I realize this is a death penalty case but does Mr. Robinson think that the victims planned their own death or deliberately got injured. Tenure and years of guaranteed job security results in mediocrity.

Not to mention that Robinson and Brown talk on a regular basis while other cases are being called, completely disrespectful to the Court, the other attorneys and the defendants and audience.

Mr. Gallegos brought up the issue of evidence and the Court ruling on that evidence in a preliminary hearing.
He said the prosecution cannot present all possible scenarios. He then talked about evidence and conclusions in a very organized and logical way. He also spoke about Warren's state of mind and how the evidence demonstrated "expressed malice." He asked the Court to deny the motion in its entirety.

If I had been a juror in this case, score for Paul.

In his rebuttal, Robinson went off on a wierd Malaysian aircraft analogy.

Judge Feeney did challenge his theory and asked Robinson a question about scenarios which seemed to favor Paul's response about the same argument.

I just complimented Paul Gallegos; that should tell you what I think of Robinson. He needs to be a little less arrogant. This is not the first time I have seen him in the courtroom. Others working in Robinson's office who are not as senior in terms of years, are far more qualified and professional. If only defendants who cannot afford a public defender had a choice in who they had to represent them.

In Warren's case, he gets an attorney he deserves.

Day 2 Bryson goes to bat for Crossland again

Courtroom 1. Judge John Feeney presiding. Jason Sheets for the People and Ms. Bryson for the defendant Triston Crossland.

If this had been a public defender, Crossland would be cooling his heels in custody instead of an 1 hour in the courtroom.  Ms. Bryson is representing Crossland in four cases. The one today was a hit and run with property damage and reckless driving.

Based on his attitude I have seen so far, does not surprise me. Fortunately for Crossland, he has an attorney that realizes he needs to grow up and is willing to give him another chance. Don't blow it Triston. Or you could join the Humboldt Hall of Fame of repeat offenders.

Court had received a supervised release report. Ms. Bryson also supplied the court with information, I think about his job, I was not privy to what since it was not mentioned in court. Probation said that Crossland was serving time for a SWAP violation for another case. Ms. Bryson countered that he was "doing fine with SWAP" but he was in violation because he was taken into custody. For this or one of the other cases, I have no idea but sounds like for another case.

Ms. Bryson told the court that she emailed certain SWAP supervisors, and that SWAP is fine with Crossland returning and finishing his time. Then she mentioned that Crossland's probation officer was out of the office until Tuesday but she talked to the PO's supervisor Beverly Ford.

Ms. Bryson was told to get a letter from Crossland's employer and the court ordered program he was to complete. Ms. Bryson said that it seems a technicality on SWAP violation got Crossland cuffed and remanded yesterday. There are details of why she came to the conclusion, not mentioned in open court.

"He has gotten his act together," she said. Ms. Bryson added that even before she stepped in to take his other cases, his hit and run was going to be dismissed. and that she did not think it is Probation's job to decide matters of bail; the job of Probation is to give him a chance. She said if she is on supervised release, he will not get out until next Tuesday (court and county being closed for a holiday on Monday). If he missed his next appointment at Probation, they would terminate his case.

The Court asked Ms. Bryson to get written verification from SWAP that they would be okay with Crossland returning to finish his term.

Mr. Sheets said the People's position was to follow Probation's Officer's recommendation. However, if Ms. Bryson provides the additional information requested by the Court, we won't oppose.

Ms. Bryson again pressed for the OR bail hearing tomorrow. Judge Feeney said he was in Garberville tomorrow and that Judge Reinholtsen was on vacation so a visiting judge, Judge Johnson would be hearing cases in Courtroom 1 or 5. Ms. Bryson agreed and now the OR bail hearing is set to be decided tomorrow.

Let's see if Day 3 will be Crossland's lucky day. Day 3 Visiting Judge said Judge Feeney needs to address and since this just seems to a matter of OR hearing which will get resolved one way or another, I am no longer updating or following this case. Unless it develops into something worth covering.




EPD says it is not worth it....

To text and drive during April. Does not matter if you are easy on the eyes or think you are funny and can talk your way out of a ticket, April will be zero tolerance month for you smart phone addicts!

Why April?

EPD Press release:

As part of April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign, Eureka Police will be joining with over 200 other local law enforcement agencies and the California Highway Patrol in a month long “zero tolerance” enforcement and education campaign to curb those texting or operating hand-held cell phones while driving. Officers will be on alert throughout the month for those who break the cell phone laws and place themselves and others in danger.  Special high visibility enforcement operations to cite cell phone violators will take place on Thursday April 3rd, Tuesday April 8th, Thursday April 17th, and Tuesday April 22nd.

The increased enforcement and education aims to persuade drivers to recognize the dangers of distracted driving and reduce the number of people impacted by this perilous behavior.  The “It’s Not Worth It!” theme emphasizes that a phone call or text isn’t worth a hefty fine or a collision. The current minimum ticket cost is $161, with subsequent tickets costing at least $281.

“We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously,” said Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills. “because we see the aftermath of these totally preventable crashes. Is that text message or cell phone call really worth $161, or worse, someone’s life?”

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.  In addition, studies show that texting while driving can delay a driver’s reaction time just as severely as having a blood alcohol content of a legally drunk driver. According to research, sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.  Even a three second glance at freeway speeds means a driver has traveled the distance of a football field.

Research shows that there is no difference in the risks between hands-free and hand-held cell phone conversations, both of which can result in “inattention blindness” which occurs when the brain isn’t seeing what is clearly visible because the drivers’ focus is on the phone conversation and not on the road.  When over one third of your brain’s functioning that should be on your driving moves over to cell phone talking, you can become a cell phone “zombie.”  

While Goff is distracted by good food, I sneak in my review of Taste of Main Street

To the few souls who checked out my 1 liner earlier on the Taste of Main Street, thanks. It has been deleted and tossed into the recycling bin of cyberspace.

Yes, I used Goff's name to get you to read my review first! I left him sampling a wild salmon cake at the Eureka Coop, my last stop today at my most favorite event sponsored by Eureka Main Street. My favorite there, the lemon spinach quinoa.

All participating vendors were great but I only had time for my favorite local businesses. I started out my evening at the Black Lightining Motorcycle Cafe and enjoyed a bull taco panini sample and cleansed my palate for the next stop with a delicious fruit smoothie sample.

All the food listed below is sample sized portion but our local businesses are very generous.

Next was bbq pork sliders at 511, spanakopita at Oberon Grill, marinated grilled chicken with black bean and corn slaw from Mike's Southside Bbq at Humboldt Hardware and then a club wrap at Wolf Dawg.

Then a hearty walk to Bella Baskets where Boujie Baking Co and Humboldt Hot Sauce tantalized my tastebuds. The beer infused treats from Boujie were a sacrifice I made for the noble cause of getting out this important information on local businesses.

I was thirsty so I headed down to Lost Coast Brewery to get my annual Dirty Kitty customized beer combo. There were 2 more stops I had to make. Surfside Burger Shack for some carbs and then Bless My Soul Cafe for Mama Janisse's sticky love coconut chicken.

I was full and had not even been to all the places. At several places, I passed on some selections.

Best couple of the night award goes to both Chief Andy Mills and his wife and Lt. Steve Knight and his wife. I also ran into 2 if the biggest champions of local business, Gregg Foster and Emily Jacobs.

Fun night, great food, terrific way to support Old town businesses.

Why some cases never make it to court? Thanks to Shamus T Bones' Chris for asking this question.

This is a post about why a possible case about alleged embezzlement at Shamus T Bones still remains unprosecuted. Stay tuned from responses from Chris Barry, the DA's office, and others in a future post.

Mr. Barry has tried to get other media to pursue answers.

The summary, according to Chris Barry, a Humboldt reader's digest version:

My name is Chris Barry.  I own Shamus T Bones.

One of our employees embezzled 45k from us over the past year.  He had worked for us for 6 years.  His method was very interesting and creative.  We were able to document exactly how and when, down to the minute.  I obtained a legally videotaped confession from him.

EPD prepared the case and turned it over to the DA.

Luke Brownfield filed the charges and it is my understanding that a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
I reported this to EPD (Officer LaFrance) on January 19th.  At that time, he told me that he had enough probable cause to arrest him but he said he would rather not because once they arrest him, they have limited time to organize the case.

Over the next week he worked on it and eventually it was forwarded to the DA's office.

I'm frustrated that someone can steal $45,000.00 and two months later they have not been arrested or even spoken to by law enforcement.


Judge Feeney to issue wriiten decision on Warren case and defense's ruling on 995 motion to dismiss decision on April 9

 Judge heard oral arguments today but will be issuing a written ruling on April 9.

This is just my opinion but Paul Gallegos did better than Kevin Robinson and based on 1 question by the Court, Judge Feeney may agree with my observation.

We will see on April 9.

It is rare that I compliment Paul but when I do it is genuine.

I was not overly impressed with either Paul or Kevin Robinson. As far as arguments go, Elan and Kaleb Cockrum in the Gary Lee Bullock case were worth watching.

I feel bad for the families of the victims who have come to court twice to hear the decision on this motion.


Assault on victim in Willow Creek aggravating victim's medical condition

On 03-26-14, at approximately 9:15 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call of an assault which just occurred at 48 Panther Road, Willow Creek.  The reporting person told Sheriff’s Dispatch the victim of the assault recovering from a recent tracheotomy and was punched in the throat by the suspect. While deputies were responding to the scene, they were told the victim had been picked up by ambulance and was now enroute the hospital code three.  While enroute to the hospital the ambulance crew reported the victim stopped breathing several times and lifesaving efforts had to be administered.

 Deputies responded to the location of the assault and learned the 28 year old male victim had been punched in the throat by an unknown male suspect. Witnesses told deputies they did not know who the male suspect was nor did they have a description; however the victim told witnesses a male had punched him in the neck. Several witnesses reported hearing an argument shortly before the assault was reported.


Deputies responded to the hospital and were unable to obtain a statement from the male victim because he was in critical condition. The case is still under investigation.

Allan Dollison endorsed by Keith Taylor, former Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Chief

Allan has been endorsed by Keith Taylor, Center For Indian Law and Justice and former Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Chief.

Press Release from Dollison campaign:

The Dollison for District Attorney Campaign is pleased to announce the
endorsement of former Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Chief Keith Taylor. “I have known Allan
for almost his entire time in Humboldt and am nothing less than thoroughly impressed with his
skills, professionalism, commitment for justice and compassion in cases” Taylor said.

Taylor had a long and storied career in law enforcement, where he was a State Parole Agent in
Southern California. One of his cases was turned into a book that is still available on
Amazon.com.

Keith also was the Chief of Police for the Hoopa Valley Tribal police department, after he
retired here as a parole agent.

“I got to work very carefully with Allan on the habeas case involving the Murder conviction of
John Thompson. Allan’s hard work and dedication paid off when the court denied Mr.
Thompson’s petition. Allan spent hours with me discussing the case and preparing me. The case
was almost two decades old, but Allan thoroughly engrossed himself in it, and but for his
dedication a murderer would be out free today.”

Dollison stated, “I have always valued my personal friendship with Keith. We have not always
seen eye to eye on every case, but he always knew that I had a commitment to justice, doing the
right thing and firmness in my approach.”

Finally Taylor said, “I have been involved in several DA races here in Humboldt County. This
election Allan is the obvious choice. He is hard-working and dedicated, but also independent.
He will be independent in dealing with both law enforcement and the defense bar. We need that
independence in a District Attorney.”

Vincent Sanchez arrested in double murder homicide on Harris

On March 26, 2014 at 1757 hours, Eureka Police officers were dispatched to 2109 Harris Street
in Eureka on a citizen’s report of an injured person in the house at that location. Officers entered
the house to render first aid and found a man deceased with what appeared to be a gunshot
wound to the head. Officers checked the rest of the house for other persons who may need help
and found a second person deceased as well. He too suffered from a gunshot wound to the
head.

Based on evidence collected at the scene investigators believe the crime was a double homicide.
One person was detained at the scene and now has been arrested as the lone suspect in the
murders. Investigators will continue to process the scene for the rest of today. The deceased
have been identified but their names are being withheld until family members have been notified
by the Coroner’s Office.

The suspect is Eureka resident: Vincent Earnest Sanchez, DOB: 04-30-1985 who was
booked into jail for two counts of homicide.

Mar 26, 2014

LOCO commenters raise good questions in the Harris Street murder

The photos of the house and the address has been released so if the family was reading a blog or news, they already know something occurred.

People are commenting that it could be the owner of the house dropping clues, so should I now post the initials of the person and more clues. No.

We do not know who the deceased are, we do not know who was led a way in cuffs. So if I were to assume that the person who lives there is deceased, I am adding to speculation and this would be devastating to the family.


Harris Street double murder confirmed as a homicide

On March 26, 2014 at 1757 hours, Eureka Police officers were dispatched to 
2109 Harris Street in Eureka on a citizen’s report of an injured person in the 
house at that location. Officers entered the house to render first aid and found 
a man deceased with obvious signs of trauma. The officers checked the rest of 
the house for other persons who may need help and found a second person 
deceased in the home as well. 

Detectives and evidence technicians have been called to investigate the deaths
and process the scene.  Based on information collected at the scene, the crime 
is being processed as a homicide.  

The deceased have been identified but their names are being withheld until family
members have been notified.

Anyone with information about this investigation should call the Eureka Police at 
(707) 441-4044.



Bryson win 1 and Brownfield win 1 and Judge Feeney adding humor to a packed day

Another day in Courtroom 1 where all the heavy hitters were present as far as private attorneys go locally. Patrik Griego, Russ Clanton, Mark Harris, Ben McLaughlin. On those days, I wish I had the time to report on all cases.

Lately with the Warren case, the Wortman case in Courtroom 1, and aftera  case in which Mr. Griego, Mr. Clanton and Mr. Harris were all appearing and then it was a case with the Clanton vs Griego showdown, Judge Feeney remarked, that there were a lot of "unusual circumstances" lately in his Courtroom. This has been leading to some rescheduling and continuances. He said, "Maybe I am a magnet" for such cases.

In an afternoon where the courtroom was packed with family members and defendants waiting to hear their fate, Judge Feeney did manage to lighten the mood for a bit.

I will use 2 cases today in which the defendant was represented by Kathleen Bryson to show why private attorneys make the big bucks but also a little kudos to Kathleen. I got to know Kathleen because I worked on her campaign in 2010 and at her office (I later supported Allison Jackson who I have known for a long time).  I consider Kathleen a friend.

It's not just about making the big bucks, (while other attorneys, private  or public defenders also care about their clients), Kathleen has a unique ability to see the humanness and reality in which many people find themselves in a pinch. She will advocate 200% for her clients. I have seen some people change their lives around because Kathleen represented them and believed in them.

In 1 case for Sherlette Colegrove, sentencing was continued because of when Ms. Bryson received  the Probation report and needed time to prepare a formal written statement to advocate for her client. Judge Feeney granted Ms. Bryson's request for continuance for sentencing because the Court also just received the report on Monday and Judge Feeney said he was not surprised with the request for continuance.

Mr. Brownfield did object. Sentencing is now on April 3 at 2 p.m.

In another case, Tristan Crossland, there were 3 cases, one of which was a felony probation case. In all 3 cases, petition to revoke bail was filed. Ms. Bryson entered denials on behalf of her client. Probation had recommended that Crossland be remanded into custody and had given reasons. There was also another case in Courtroom 2.

Ms. Bryson presented an argument why her client had not been able to meet the condition of Probation for a program, that he had a job and had retained her because he wants to stay out of jail.

Because of a fresh complaint and the charges against him, Mr. Brownfield said that he should be remanded. Judge Feeney agreed with Probabtion and the People citing concerns for public safety. Crossland was cuffed in open court and taken into custody.  Ms. Bryson still argued a couple of times after Judge Feeney's decision as to why her client should not be in jail. Even after a bail revocation hearing was scheduled. Finally the Judge agreed to an OR bail hearing tomorrow at 2 p.m.

I have not been following either case so I do not have details and while this may not seem exciting to some, it shows the human side of the criminal justice system.

Arriaga case dismissed, Miller gets a bit of reprieve, Miller's hubby tries to physically block me in effort to intimidate

The Arriaga and Miller case has been covered on this blog and LOCO so if you want the background, feel free to do a little search and read.

Both cases were scheduled for a preliminary hearing tomorrow. That date was vacated. Today in Courtroom1, with Judge John Feeney presiding, Luke Brownfield for the People, the cases took a slightly different twist.

Brian Arriaga's cases were dismissed due to lack of evidence. In the 2nd case, I have no idea why Eureka City Attorney Cyndi Day Wilson was involved because the first I heard of it was this afternoon but judgement was deferred. Judge Feeney inserted a bit of humor when he commented to Arriaga and his attorney that they would have no objection to the case being dismissed.

Misty Miller's case in which she is being represented by Public Defender Heidi Holmquist had a resolution.
Mr. Brownfield  requested that sentencing include mental health terms. Counts 1, 3 and 4 were dismissed and Miller changed her plea to guilty today for Count 2 which was grand theft. Judge Feeney explained to Miller that they plea was conditional and that after he received the report from Probation, terms could change.

He further explained that if she violated probation there were a range of custody times. When the judge asked the standard question while explaining terms and rights, "Are you under the influence of any drug and alcohol", Miller injected a bit of humor by saying, "Benadryl but no I am totally here." At which point the the Judge commented that she looked better in the time she has been here. Miller responded with, "I am never going to do that stuff again." Judge Feeney said "good, we want you healthy and safe." Case was referred to pre-sentencing report.

Holmquiist requested that Miller be released on her own recognizance or that bail be reduced. She mentioned Miller's husband and family were in the audience and that Miller had some family court issues to address and this would be helpful. Mr. Brownfield objected with concerns due to public safety. Referring to the case, he said Miller wandered into 2 people's home she did not know and stole property from 1 of the houses.

Judge Feeney said that he was not comfortable releasing Miller on OR but that he would reduce bail from $60,000 to $35,000. Sentencing is scheduled on April 20 at 2 p.m in Courtroom 1.

As I was leaving the courtroom, Miller's husband who was talking to Ms. Holmquist followed me demanding information and asking who I was, I cautioned him verbally and he continued to verbally harrass me and then attempted to prevent me from walking into the 2nd floor hallway. I told him if he did not back off, I would call a baliff. Fortunately I was a few steps away from him and I walked away.

Someone should remind him his wife got a lucky break and his macho act will not help his wife. This is the 2nd time a family member does not understand that any one can attend an open court hearing, what is being said on record is public information.

Right now Miller needs help for her mental health issues and a support system to stay off drugs, not her macho husband (who was in court for the first time) threatening someone.



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Mar 25, 2014

Marijuana arrest in Hydesville, strong odor gives it away

An illegally parked bus in Hydesville driven by someone from Willits and strong odor of marijuana leads to arrest.

HCSO press release:

On 03-25-2014, at approximately 7:30 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office received a call regarding a gray 1975 International bus parked in the area of Rocksprings Road and Johnson Road, Hydesville. The caller was concerned the bus was illegally camping in the area.

            A deputy responded and spoke with a man who was identified as Michael Barny McBride, 29 years old, from Willits. McBride was seated in the driver’s seat of the bus.  When the deputy spoke with McBride he could smell the strong odor of green marijuana. The deputy asked McBride if he had marijuana in the bus. McBride told the deputy there was about an 1/8th of an ounce in the bus. The deputy asked McBride if he was sure, and McBride then admitted there may be more than that quantity in the bus. The deputy detained McBride and his passenger, who verbally identified himself to the deputy as Joseph Edwards.  The deputy searched the bus with the assistance of other deputies who arrived on the scene. They located approximately 174 pounds of dried processed marijuana in large plastic bags in the bus. The deputies seized the marijuana and arrested McBride and Edwards.

McBride and Edwards were transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where they were booked on charges of cultivation and possession for sale of marijuana. The investigating deputy learned Joseph Edwards was a false name, his true name was Joseph Nicholas Moosreiner, 29 years old and that Moosreiner was wanted for violation of parole by the State of Wisconsin. Moosreiner was also charged with providing a false name to a police officer. McBrides bail was set $75,000.00.  Moosreiner is being held without bail.
           
            Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

Mar 24, 2014

With $61,287 in contributions and Carson Park Design being paid $10,769 which DA candidate has the advantage?

We can see which DA candidate has the financial advantage. While some volunteers also get paid in campaign, there is a difference between getting $500 or less or upto  maybe $1,000 for an entire campaign and someone getting $10, 000 in one filing period and this someone is also your brother in law and someone who has a working relationship and does cartoons for local media.

 I urge everyone to see the 460s for themselves. This is for the filing period 1/1/14 to 3/17/14.

I know there may be comments but not on my blog, so disclosure about others who got paid. I was paid $150 by the Firpo campaign so did Mitch Trachtenberg, he got $403 for this last filing period. I have volunteered a lot of time since 2010 on campaigns.  I have a right to contract for services just as Mitch or Allison Edrington who is supporting Arnie. Unlike Joel, I have not and will not be making $10, 000.

I do not gain anything but attorneys, law enforcement, unions,  realtors, advertisers and City Councilmembers do . I do not have  job opportunity possibilities like present or retired county employees by supporting a candidate. And it is really pathetic that I have to explain this because of unnamed mudslingers who have never worked on campaigns or causes for free.

Arnie Klein: Monetary contribution $1,300, Loans $2,500 Total Contributions $3, 800. Expenditures $4, 805. Beginning Cash $2,062.77. Ending cash balance $1,057.

 Arnie's girlfriend Dr. Poterack is his campaign manager and also listed as treasurer.

His last 460s had basically himself and his girlfriend as the major contributors, once again out of town contributors, last time 2 local, this time 1. Ken Bareiiles who gave $500. Number of contributors down from approximately 7 last time to 3. Loan to campaign of $2,100 from Arnie himself.

Arnie's spin that this is a grassroots campaign sounds good. Reality is that even with being the first candidate to announce and a headstart of months before the other 3 started, this campaign lacks the confidence from supporters, endorsers, and funders  and the last two filing periods have shown dismal results. Arnie Klein campaign has not disclosed whether he will be paid to represent the victim's family in the Ferrer case.

Allan Dollison: Monetary contributions $2,489. Loans $20, 351 from Dollison to the campaign. Non-moneatry $750. Beginning cash 0. Cash receipts $22, 840. Expenditures $16, 440. Ending cash balance $12,004.

Elan Firpo: Monetary contributions $6,314; Loans 7,500; Non-monetary contributions $6, 644. Beginning cash balance $ 3, 390.18; Total contribution $20, 458. Expenditures $9, 104.81. Ending cash balance $8,099.37.

Elan Firpo loaned the campaign $2,500 and Fred Sundquist, $5,000.

Maggie Fleming: Monetary contributions $54,823; no Loans; Non-monetary $6,464; Total contributions $61,287. Expenditures $34,021. Beginning Cash balance 0. Cash receipts $54,823; Misc. Increase to Cash $2,965; Ending Cash balance $23, 767.

Compared to Arnie and Elan, Maggie has a lot of $200-300 as minimum contributors, lot of $500 contributors which include Greg Anderson, Coldwell Banker Broker; the Medical Director Of Northern California Community Blood Bank, Melinda Ciarabellini, Eureka Police Officers Association, Victim Witness Advocate. Medium range is attorney Linda Hervey with $800; attorney Kathleen Bryson would be in the $1,500 range with $1,025 in contributions and non-monetary $480. Other $1,500 contributors worth noting is Wes Keat. Ruth Harvey with $4,105 and oddly enough instead of listing it as a loan like other candidates; Maggie is listed as herself as a contributor for $15,000.

Bit hard for me to believe that Rex Bohn and Mike Losey only contributed $100 or a bit over; Bonnie Neely only $300. Law enforcement, attorneys, lots of retired individuals (which may or may not be former county employees), baliffs and HSU police chief are some of the many groups that are funding Maggie. Many spouses splitting amounts. From endorsements and testimonials, we know individuals from County Counsel and the District Attorney's office are supporting Maggie. So are the unions and sheriff's office endorsements in kind with walkers and phone bankers.


Some 460s in some not yet

Chris, Ryan, Virginia, Elan, Maggie and Arnie yes. LaTour and Allan no.

Allan did get his 460s  in before 5 p.m. today.

Women assaulted with machete at the Country Club Market

On 03-21-2014, at approximately 2:15 a .m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a 32 year old female assault victim at the Country Club Market. Deputies and medical personnel responded to the market and met with the victim and a female witness who was a friend of the victim.  Deputies saw the victim had several deep cuts on her hands and injuries to her face, and a possible broken arm. The victim told deputies her husband Torry Williams, 32 years old, had assaulted her at their residence located in the 2000 block of Stanford Circle, Eureka. The victim told the deputies they have been separated due to his violence and she and a friend had stopped by the residence to speak with him. When she knocked on the door, he opened the door and grabbed her by the hair, then dragged her into the home and immediately began to assault her with his fists, striking her in the head and facial area. During the assault he grabbed a machete and began assaulting her with it. She grabbed the blade of the machete during the assault trying to keep from getting struck and injured her hands. The victim was able to fend off Williams and was able to run to her friend’s car outside. Williams chased after her with the machete as she ran away. She was able to get into the passenger seat of her friends car and they drove away. Williams was striking her friends vehicle with the machete as they drove away.

 Deputies responded to the residence and located Williams in the home. He was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, domestic violence, violation of a court order and violation of probation. Deputies also located a machete with an 18” long blade on the kitchen counter. Outside the residence they found a piece of the friend’s car on the ground, that appeared to have been sliced off by a sharp object.

Williams was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $100,000.00.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

Mar 21, 2014

What is the value of a human life? It is not just Paul that irks me

It is not just Paul that irks me so much.

I realize there are confidentiality issues but certain information and general policies should be available to the public. The Judges don't make decisions behind closed doors, yes certain trials and cases and information are sealed or confidential. Government meetings are subject to Brown Act rules.

Yet, certain offices such as the District Attorney's Office that deal with people's lives need to be more transparent and accessible.

Every court case I cover is because of my own journalist background, legal research and connections and on my own time. When other reporters are in the courtroom, we all help each other out. The media and the public and other organizations see the legitimacy and work; Paul and others do not. Paul has made it even more difficult and time consuming because if I don't have information in open court or I cannot hear the clerk due to disrespectful people who think court is their personal living room, I have to work harder to get the information and make sure it is accurate because that is the record of integrity I have as a journalist for 30 years.

I do not cover cases off press releases. The Cook case has been going on for a year, no one covered it, not even after I posted the first report. The Workman case, same thing. We do have a shortage of reporters but we seem to have article after article on the same polarizing issues and people show up at BOS and City Council meetings for the GPU or ridiculous stuff like raw milk yet cases like the Cook case that affect lives and generations go unnoticed.

It is not the reporters and editors who decide what gets covered or what gets newspapers sold. The audience and those who advertise determine the coverage.

When I was a journalist in Philadelphia and Atlanta, I worked for smaller newspapers. As 1 reporter, it was the trust and my connections and my being a part of the community that allowed me to scoop my bigger and better funded competition. In my heart, I am always be that neighborhood reporter. I have also always been a community advocate. 

Humboldt when you don't care about your neighbor and get swayed emotionally about issues that both political sides benefit from but not the foot soldiers of those sides; don't complain about the elected leaders and your quality of life.

What is the value of a human life? To me that brave 7 year old girl, a mother who stood up for her child against odds, a prosecutor dedicated to children and a well-qualified, caring Judge showed an arrogant man who thought his money would get him off the hook and saved future girls from the same fate.

All these years the businesses, the law enforcement, the community was silent. You let him get away with it because you are too busy being distracted by what is not important.

Some people in power and some with money on both sides of the political spectrum as well as bloggers and commenters who rant and rave attacking people, especially those who  hide behind anonymous blogs they create, what have you done that has changed the life of society in the way that 7 year old did?

Death Penalty in Warren case that may be dismissed but Tree gets a pass, what is Paul's thought process?

http://www.northcoastjournal.com/humboldt/a-capital-question/Content?oid=2516452

This is a link to an article by Thad Greenson. In it he says "With little attention or fanfare, Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos is seeking the death penalty against Jason Anthony Warren in a case scheduled to go to trial in May. If a jury ultimately convicts and condemns Warren, it would be the first time Humboldt has sent someone to death row in nearly 25 years".

Channel 3 Lashay Wesley and myself were the only 2 in the courtroom this week when oral arguments were postponed on a 995 Motion in which the defense is seeking to dismiss 3 counts. Next week is when the oral arguments are scheduled to happen, and so when I read this, I wondered what is Paul thinking? And why the death penalty in this case now when he declined it in the double murder case of Bodhi Tree.

I thought Paul was releasing information to select media, just Thad,  and he was just quietly making this decision.  I would contact him but he and I have had a conversation on bloggers and journalists and who gets to be on the media list which would be an entertaining and enlightening post, but I digress.

I kinda called Thad and Paul out on a comment on Rose's blog which I asked Rose to remove after Thad contacted me via email. I like Thad and respect him as I do other local reporters. They also trust me. With Thad's permission, I am summarizing his email to me. I appreciate him reaching out to me privately and explaining he trusted me and also trusted I would share what is pertinent. This is information between him and me as a colleague, which by the way is a high compliment from a fellow reporter I admire. Some of it is just conversation between him and me not relevant to this post so I will not reprint the email.

Thad explained that the decision to seek the death penalty against Warren was not a recent one and that Paul made that call a while ago, Thad thinks possibly even before the preliminary hearing. There is a gag order in the case and Thad mentioned since not all reporters can show up for every hearing, not all of us may know about the gag order and because of that restriction no one knows when Paul made this decision. This is one of the reasons I go to every hearing in a case I cover. 

Thad wanted to stress Paul did not release this information to him. Thad explained to me how he obtained the information. I too have obtained that information in a similar manner. A reporter covering a court beat and one knowledgeable about court procedures and legal research can find this information in a proper way without talking to any attorney connected with the case. 

There is a death penalty policy that the Humboldt County District Attorney's office has and due to space, Thad could not include it in the story. While he shared it with me, I did not get it from Paul nor does it have a date so Paul how do you come to these decisions involving a person's life? 

See if Paul would bother talking to me when I am the only one covering the court case on a regular basis or be transparent to give me information that other reporters have, I would not need to wonder. In fact, if there are policies on Cruz Waivers and Death Penalty, post it on the District Attorney website instead of all those favorable press releases so the public has access to it, not just me.

Sharon LaTour, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me

When I spoke with Sharon LaTour before her announcement yesterday, she was very concerned about 
my post about her filing to run against Ryan Sundberg and me having a problem reaching her.

She said she had a lot of explaining to do. She gave me her home phone number and email. I had asked
 her a couple questions and told her I would email her some later. She assured me she would be available.

These are the questions I emailed her and asked for a response in writing:

1.Can you give me some specifics on how you plan to bring about these jobs and support local businesses?
2. How many building permits on an average do you think were issued in a year?
3. You were asked what if the GPU is passed before you take office, that is assuming new supervisors are elected?
4. What issues do you see as priority to be addressed in McKinleyville in your first term?

I gave a very objective report of her announcement. Have not heard back, not even I am busy, will get back to you.

Same thing with Chris Kerrigan, accessible one day, no contact the other. Whether Richard Salzman is involved with these two campaigns or not, he is the one bringing up the GPU in his LOCO column. There have been some members of the Local Democratic party, including some who lost last election who have a 
personal interest in defeating Ryan and Virginia.

So all this happy trail talk and loving the air and water is nice and touchy-feely, but mums the word on specifics.

If you are going to bring about change and prosperity and are so for the working class struggling, name concrete ideas. Unless of course, your handlers advise you to keep quiet or you don't have a clue.'

In fact, go ahead and answer these questions for LOCO, Times-Standard, NorthCoast Journal, if you want;
include me in that press release or not but avoiding them shows that you are not running for the right reason.




Two truck collision on 6th and H

Fire truck dispatched and left. No injuries. Police car on scene. Another police truck on scene. This is right on the corner of the Wells Fargo parking lot. I did not see it happen but I heard it from 6th and I and walked up to the scene.

PSO Brittany Kesterson confirmed no injuries. Officers are still on scene.

Mar 20, 2014

Ryan Burns and John Chiv have a temporary body switch

Not really and you knew that so why this silly post?. Reading my coverage of Sharon  Latour's formal announcement to run as 5th District Supervisor and then Ryan's coverage. It seems he asked questions I would and I asked questions he would.

Don't worry. We are both back to our senses and respective bodies. I have sent an email asking Sharon LaTour some questions about specifics and campaign platforms and GPU and this alleged development taking over open spaces.

If Ryan and Carrie did not get answers today, will I?






Local realtor Randy Cook sentenced to 270 days in County jail and led away in cuffs

It should have been a slam dunk and he could have gotten away but some justice did prevail today for Randall Miles Cook's present victim, his own 7 year old grandaughter.  And perhaps some closure for  the victims that never got their day in court. There have been allegations before and whispers in the community and many reasons other victims did not get to tell their story.

Randall Cook, his wife and other children (not parents of the victim) glared at me in the hallway for covering this case. They were completely insensitive to the fact that other cases were being heard in a packed courtroom and people had to scramble to find empty seats. When the victim's mother came into the courtroom with her family and support staff from agencies, there was no place to sit. It was so uncomfortable they went outside for a while.

This is the only time Randall Miles Cook has been in the courtroom since I started covering the case.

Deputy District Attorney Jackie Pizzo mentioned to the baliff on duty that when the courtroom is packed, people should be allowed to sit in the front row which is reserved for attorneys and court staff but that was ignored.

This case is being prosecuted by DDA Kelly Neel. The defendant is being represented by Michael Robinson and Judge Marilyn Miles presiding in Courtroom 2.

Judge Miles had both attorneys approach her to discuss certain matters before sentencing proceeded. She mentioned the probation report and attachments which included letters from Veronica Cook, the victim's mother; several Cook family members and Terry Cook, the victim's father. There was also a letter from a Ms. Silva, another alleged victim, a cousin of the family.

Due to the age of the victim, although her name was mentioned in court, I will not be using it in this post.

There was a letter from Mr. Robinson requesting that in addition to the plea, that the charge be reduced to a misdemeanor after 18 months. That was not a part of the plea and Judge Miles rejected that request.

The jail time Cook received was in addition to being on probation.

Before sentencing, Veronica Cook addressed the Court on behalf of her daughter. So did Terry Cook, the victim's father. And then the attorneys.

Veronica Cook was emotional during her testimony, at times crying as she spoke. "This has been the hardest year of my life, not just for me but for my children as well." What she read was a victim impact statement she had submitted to the court. "(child's name) went from a happy go-lucky kid to an introverted kid" who thinks she is bad and is sensitive so that she not hurt other people's feelings. "Her grandfather sexually molested her several times." She added that she felt betrayed by someone she trusted and respected and who she never thought would hurt her child.

"The original charges were felony counts, now plead down to 1 felony count of child endangerment," said Veronica. " She added that clearly her daughter was not his first victim. She mentioned the cousin. Veronica Cook said she was upset that as a part of the plea deal Randall Cook is not getting any jail time and that he did not have to register as a sex offender. "Mr. Cook has not acknowledged he has a problem." She asked that Cook not be allowed around young girls and her children (she also has 2 boys).

Terry Cook, the father says he believes his daughter but he wants a relationship with his family and father. The rest of the family does not believe the little girl and they blame Veronica. While Terry Cook got a little emotional in his testimony, he wants his children to have contact with his family. Instead of his daughter, Terry Cook went on and on about the benefits of counseling and people changing because of counseling.

Veronica and Terry Cook share joint custody of the children.

Ms. Neel started her statement by saying, "This was not a resolution taken without much input and discussion; separately and individually with Terry and Veronica Cook." She added, "I believe Mr. Cook did what  (child's name) said he did."

Ms. Neel explained that part of the case resolution and plea was "because 1108 evidence (http://law.onecle.com/california/evidence/1108.html) was shaky and much of that recollection was under hypnosis (this was the cousin's testimony)."  Again, referring to that incident, "There was no physical evidence, too many people around the minor when incidents occurred. I do believe he committed a crime against his niece but we cannot prove that beyond a reasonable doubt."

" Should the Court accept the plea, Mr. Cook should be required to surrender 1 year into custody," requested Ms. Neel. Then she went to explain that the way Mr. Cook turned himself in, he avoided jail time (completely) and got a lawyer (right away). "Mr. Cook believes he is getting away (with what he did) by avoiding jail time." Ms. Neel said that if the Court rejected the plea, "the People could live with that."

"I am astounded that at least one letter submitted on Mr. Cook's behalf blames Veronica Cook," said Ms. Neel. "She is trying to protect her child from people who were supposed to protect her child. Randall Cook's actions have fractured this family, he should be held accountable."

"He is telling Probation that he is medically unfit for jail," said Ms. Neel. "Jail is not good for anyone. If Mr. Cook is fine enough to travel the world, he is medically fit. It is because of his finances that he can get individual counseling." Ms. Neel said that Mr. Cook stipulated to sex offender treatment. "No one does that unless they have committed an offense." The People also requested a protective order for Veronica Cook and all her children.

Even before Court started, Mr. Robinson asked if Randall Cook could sit at the counsel table. Judge Miles said he can stand. Once Ms. Neel was done and halfway through Mr. Robinson's statement, Robinson asked again and Judge Miles said he could sit in the chairs in the courtroom. Randall Cook is in no way incapacitated where he could not stand for his own sentencing. Throughout the sentencing, he showed no emotion or remorse.

When Mr. Robinson spoke he brought up that most of the family was behind Randall Cook, he attacked the victims, again brought up the 1108 evidence code. At several points Judge Miles had to caution Mr. Robinson's personal interpretations and character assasinations of victims and  challenge certain insinuations that had no evidence. The defense said they were fine with protective order against the grandaughter and Veronica Cook but not the male grandchildren.

The Court agreed about the male grandchildren and that was only based on this case being about a female victim but granted the protective order for the granddaughter and Veronica Cook. Randall Cook is also not allowed to be with young girls without supervision. Randall Cook was sentenced to serve 270 days in County Jail and led away in cuffs.

With GPU as focus, Sharon LaTour announces candidacy for the 5th district in front of the courthouse

About 30 supporters which included Eureka Councilmember Linda Atkins, 4th District Supervisorial candidate Chris Kerrigan, HDCC member Pam Service, and former State Assembly candidate Hezekiah Allen gathered in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse to hear Sharon LaTour announce her candidacy.

Ms. LaTour provided the press with a copy of her speech and the General Plan Update was definitely a focal point of her remarks. "We have the opportunity to make a clear statement of our values and our vision of the future; of the Humboldt County that we want to pass on to our children, through the General Plan Update."

She goes on to give her timeline and interpretation of why the GPU has not passed. Regarding the current Board of Supervisors, Ms. La Tour has some strong words. "The vision is gone; any statement of values has been lost." Further in her statement, "Even simple but crucial goals such as orderly development and planning for the infrastructure and services have been gutted."

Unlike Chris Kerrigan, who no longer responds to any questions I ask; Ms. LaTour has given me her contact information and I will be contacting her for specifics on how she plans to bring the vision and prosperity she promises in her speech and campaign literature. I did tell her before we spoke that I have and am supporting current 5th District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg but I was here today to cover her candidacy.

There were 2 questions I got to ask her before her speech and these are her responses

I asked her why she picked the Courthouse instead of McKinleyville, her district. "It is a more natural gathering place and each Supervisor has a responsibility for the entire county."

I asked her how she plans to run against an opponent who is well-funded and liked. "Walking, meeting and listening. I am going to walk as many days as I can and meet as many people as I can. I hope we would not be spending any more money now than we would have if we ran 3 months ago."

Elmy Workman sentencing postponed again.


This is the case Allison Jackson threw a legal "monkey wrench" in her own words on the day of sentencing. And once again Ms. Jackson prevailed. Court again in 2 weeks. All parties will be back in court on April 3rd at a special set time of 3 p.m.

Judge Feeney presiding in Courtroom1. Jason Sheets (instead of Luke Brownfield just today) for the People. Neal Sanders for the defendant, Elmy Workman. Allison Jackson, for the victim, Angela Pitts who she is representing pro-bono in this case.

This is a comment sent to me by Verda Pitts prior to court today:

I saw that you had written a small piece mentioning my sisters court appearance last week.  My sister Angel was stabbed by Elmy Workman who is being represented by Neal Sanders.  My family recently obtained Mrs. Allison Jackson to represent  Angel in this case.  Today in court tensions will be high as Mrs. Jackson plans to address  the court about the 'pre-sentencing report' she obtained at last weeks court appointment. The Distract Attorney's office wanted to agree to a plea deal (AGAINST MY SISTSERS WISHES) offered by Neal and Elmy. According to the plea deal Elmy would be pealing to assault resulting in GBI.(She stabbed her with a knife-it should be 'assault with a deadly weapon) She is offering to serve a mere 40 days in jail and comply with probation for three years in Humboldt County. This is appalling and like so many other cases locally and nationally alike, this case is not being heard by the public. We have court this afternoon at three o clock ( I believe in court room one)   My family would appreciate your presence in the court room, and would like to thank you again for writing about this case in the first place.  Please email me back if you have any questions. We feel like this story is one the public would find interesting, there is a very deep story here with much more than meets the eye.  This was in fact an attempt at a murder even though it will never and has never been called or tried as so. Thank you for your time.
   Sincerely,

       Verda W. N. Pitts

Another follow-up comment:

 My sister was left with multiple broken ribs and a lacerated liver. She was in ICU for 4 days. She also had a young nursing baby at the time who was also deprived of her mother during this time as a result of Elmy's actions. This was a very serious crime that could have ended much more devastating. I am thankful every day that this is not a murder case and that my sister didn't lose her life that day. I do however feel extremely passionate about this since it in fact almost was a murder case.  In my first email to you I said "According to the plea deal Elmy would be pealing to assault resulting in GBI.(She stabbed her with a knife-it should be 'assault with a deadly weapon) "  I should have said that since she stabbed her with a knife it should be assault with a deadly weapon resulting in G B I. Just to be specific.

Background info: Neal Sanders  represents Elmy Workman. Luke Brownfield prosecuting for the people. Workman  was supposed to be sentenced last week. The case had a plea bargain negotiated. Allison Jackson showed upto to representing the victim and the victim's family in this case. The family is objecting to the plea bargain and had previously not seen the pre-sentencing report until Ms. Jackson requested it last week. Ms. Jackson has sent a letter; a victim's statement to the Court. 

Today's court proceeding:

I will have a statement from Ms. Jackson about today's court proceedings and the other attorney's if possible.Basically, Elmy Workman's plea deal would have included no jail time, instead probation. Ms. Jackson provided case law and challenged that. Judge Feeney requested a supplementl report from Probation before he makes a decision. Ms. Jackson also had sent the court a victim impact statement.

Local realtor Randy Cook to be sentenced today

I am writing another post on today's court proceedings. I have received numerous emails and several phone calls on this case. The update is he was sentenced to 270 days in jail and a protective order was granted to the minor victim in this case, his own granddaughter; her mother, his daughter-in-law and he is not allowed to be near young girls without supervision.

Previous posts on this case:

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2013/12/randy-cook-local-realtor-guilty-of.html

http://johnchiv.blogspot.com/2014/02/personal-perspectives-on-cook-case.html

I am supporting Elan Firpo for DA, and why you should too

I am supporting Elan Firpo for District Attorney. 

I cover the courtroom, I have been a juror, I have worked for attorneys, I am the only one who has seen her in the courtroom as well as other candidates. I know all 4 candidates and I know what their peers really think, what the person on the street really thinks and what funders and people in politics really think of all 4 candidates and their chances. Having an inside perspective on all 4 candidates does give me a more fuller perspective on their strengths and weaknesses.

In the first candidate debate, Elan said certain things that show what kind of human being she is and what kind of District Attorney she will be.  “We have to be mindful how the decisions we make affect lives”; “The DA’s office is not the prosecution arm of law enforcement, we are the system of checks and balances” and “People should not be able to buy their way out of crime.”

 Elan is the only candidate with no party affiliation. This means she gave up those guaranteed party endorsements and money and volunteer support that comes with the party approval. She is a DA for people, regardless of party affiliation, in a non-partisan race.

Other letters have mentioned that she has put together a diverse coalition. There are people supporting Elan that normally have different views and have never been in the same room. Elan brought these people together.

I have previously worked on campaigns for Paul's opponents; now I am endorsing a candidate who has Paul's support. Elan earned that endorsement. I had concerns, I got to know Elan, she gained my trust and respect. I had considered endorsing and supporting another candidate who I have known longer than Elan.

She is the only DA candidate who is presently an active prosecutor in the criminal justice system with a full caseload and full-time job. She is the only candidate that has worked under realignment and has given specific explanations to how re-alignment has affected sentences and prison time. She knows the reality and frustrations of being a prosecutor now and sentences today are not HER choice. Other candidates know this and yet they have chosen to take pot shots at her high profile cases.

She has handled that criticism with class. That kind of spotlight and how it is handled is important because a DA will not make everyone happy. Again, her opponents have reacted with defensiveness or denial in the same situation.

I have talked to several people who did not know I was supporting Elan. Some I have known for a long time. This included 2 jurors who were very impressed with her in the courtroom. Many have mentioned that she is the only one that has business and management experience. That is a crucial quality to fix an office that is understaffed, needs resources and Elan knows how to conduct herself around people professionally.

Elan did not leave the office, she was not let go, and she stayed when the going is tough and that shows she has the commitment and the fortitude to fix this office.

The District Attorney’s Office is one that affects the entire County. As Elan has correctly stated, Eureka’s issues are different than Garberville. We have polarized this community by making it about growers and those other businesses. Both are a part of this economy. Greed and criminal element can apply to anyone.

Lately crime and what to do about it and issues such as homelessness and mental illness and drugs have been the subject of many articles, forums, meetings. The DA cannot fix all of this but is a crucial office where we need someone who will not see people as black or white and someone who sees how the criminal justice system sometimes becomes the only place which forces someone to get help or a place where someone is finally  held responsible for repeat behavior.


Maybe the City Attorney should not be running the City and speaking on behalf of the City of Eureka and it's citizens

I posted the first draft of the letter. I did not post the second draft.

Mayor Jager should not apologize for releasing the first draft. The City Attorney is hired to protect the interests of the City and should advise on legal consequences but in this case, this liability argument went overboard.

The first letter was written by Frank, someone I know well. To put him in the position of defending an action which he did not vote on alone is wrong. To put him in the position when he showed leadership and actually made a decision that would make even his detractors commend him is wrong.

Are we going to allow liability or potential liability to be the topic on every action now before the city Council? Any one can find any reason to sue, whether there is a basis or not.

The first letter with the apology was a significant first step in healing years of atrocities. It does not mean the present people of Eureka are the same as those ignorant fools who participated in the Wiyot massacre in 1860. What it does, is acknowledge an inhumane evil act perpetrated by powerless people who deemed themselves superior culturally.

The roots of such superiority and racism still exist in Humboldt County. This is not about money or property, it is not about whether you or I individually have the same attitudes or actions as those in the 1960s, it is about a city that has hopefully evolved and realizes why today taking responsibility for the sins of the past may promote healing in the present.

It is something that the other cities should also consider, however the Wiyot massacre occurred in Eureka.

Is the City Attorney now running the City of Eureka and speaking for the City of Eureka? We elected a Mayor and City Councilmembers. The City Attorney is hired by the City with her salary paid for with money from taxpayers.

Maybe instead of City Council members, we the citizens,  should have sent the letter to the Wiyot Tribe. Anyone who did not want to sign it, could sit out. Just as those who sat and did nothing when the cowards carried out the brutal killings 153 years ago.

Words ring hollow, actions speak louder.

In world history, moments of silence have resulted in horrors and cultural and spiritual genocide.  The Eureka City Council needs to rethink this action.




Mar 19, 2014

Stargazer Barn, a new e-commerce website by Sun Valley Farms partners to promote smaller local Humboldt Based businesses

Did you know that McKinleyville’s  own Leslie Woodriff developed the Stargazer lily, which is now the most popular oriental lilly in the world.  According to the Sun Valley Farm website, the Stargazer Lily was hybridized on The Sun Valley Group's Arcata farm location. Since the introduction of the Stargazer, Sun Valley produces Stargazers with a more intensely colored red bloom.

Sun Valley, an established local company and a major employer in the area is launching a new e-commerce website that will feature quality, eco-conscious products nationally. In addition to flowers grown by Sun Valley Farms, wines created at the Sun Valley vineyard, other Humboldt based businesses such as Tulip Perfume, Kinetic Coffee, Desserts on Us (which makes the yummy Lacey's cookies) and Holly Yashi will be prepresented.

The Headwaters Fund assisted the initial stages of this project with a $3,000 grant, and Sun Valley invested significant resources in thee website. To defray some of the costs, another grant request was submitted for $10,000 to Headwaters.

This was just approved,according to Headwaters Executive Director Dawn Elsbree . The website will not be launched until May.

Paul Gallegos gets continuance in defense request to dismiss Warren case

There were supposed to be oral arguments in the Jason Warren case today. Defense filed a motion to dismiss certain counts. Judge John Feeney presiding in Courtroom 1, Kevin Robinson representing Jason Warren and District Attorney Paul Gallegos is prosecuting the case.

Today oral arguments were supposed to be heard on a 995 Motion. California Penal Code 995 motion is a request for the judge to dismiss one or more counts of the complaint. A motion to dismiss can be filed after a preliminary hearing on a felony case. 

The defense was requesting that counts 2, 3 and 4 be dismissed. Mr. Gallegos asked the court to review all exhibits in the case before the 995 hearing and making a decision. Judge Feeney agreed and granted Mr. Gallegos' request. The defense and Warren submitted on the continuance.

The oral arguments will be heard on March 27 at 3 p.m.

Another high-profile case, David Anderson with Luke Brownfield for the People and Ben McLaughlin for the defense. Anderson was arraigned on complaints filed on March 11, 2104. This case was re-filed.

There were special allegations of kidnapping enhancements added to the charges and sexual intercourse with a minor victim over the age of 14. Pleas of not guilty were entered. Pre Trial Conference on April 16, Trial Confirmation on April 30 and a jury trial date was also scheduled.

OR bail hearings were held for both Miller and Arriaga, and Judge Feeney denied both OR bail and supervisory release for both citing public safety concerns with Mr. Brownfield objecting due to the serious nature of charges. Miller's request to lower bail was also denied.

Judge Feeney is my favorite judge and if you have jury duty, you want him to be the presiding judge. I have been a juror on a high profile case with Judge Feeney. On a daily basis, he is very kind and polite to counsel, staff, jurors and even defendants.

Courtroom 1 was the happening courtroom to be in today with Paul Gallegos, Patrik Griego, Ben McLaughlin, Allan Dollison, Glenn Brown and  few others all in the same afternoon. Sort of a star-studded attorney line-up. The Littlefield case was also on calendar today, which is being prosecuted by Mr. Gallegos.


Mar 17, 2014

City of Eureka letter to Wiyot Tribe

I think it is an important first step towards healing.


March 18, 2014

Ted Hernandez, Tribal Chair
Wiyot Tribe
1000 Wiyot Drive
Loleta, CA  95551

Dear Members of the Wiyot Tribe:

In February 1860, 154 years ago, citizens from Eureka participated in what has been described as a massacre of unfathomable proportions.  On that winter night long ago, the Wiyot people of Humboldt Bay were attacked.  That incident resulted in the death of scores of mostly women and children on the tribal island in Humboldt Bay.  Worse yet, this attack occurred during the Wiyot Renewal Ceremony to bring healing to the Earth.  The ceremony was never finished.

Today the people of Eureka are pleased to see the World Renewal Ceremony, that was cut short in 1860, will at last be finished.  The ceremony will take place on island land deeded to the Wiyot people in 2004.

As Mayor of Eureka, on behalf of the City Council and the people of Eureka, we would like to offer a formal apology to the Wiyot people for the actions of our people in 1860.  Nothing we say or do can make up for what occurred on that night of infamy.  It will forever be a scar on our history.  We can, however, with our present and future actions of support for the Wiyot, work to remove the prejudice and bigotry that still exists in our society today.

Sincerely,

Frank J. J├Ąger
Mayor

CC: Councilmembers